We all know what it feels like, physically, to be intensely afraid: your heart races, your breath quickens, and you suddenly feel clammy with sweat. Those symptoms are challenging enough when the fear has an identifiable cause. Imagine how difficult they can be when they come out of nowhere, have no specific cause, and last for minutes at a time. That’s what a panic attack feels like.
The effects of a panic attack don’t end when the attack does. One of the worst parts about panic attacks is the concern that you’ll have another, potentially without warning. That sense of fear can affect a person’s life in many ways including the development of specific phobias, problems at work or school, depression and anxiety disorders, and financial problems.
But while we don’t know exactly what causes panic attacks and panic disorders, there are ways to manage them and reduce their severity.
One in 10 Canadians suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Read on to learn more about what a panic attack is, how panic disorders are treated, and how you can help yourself or someone with the condition get through an attack.